As we all know by now, Bob Gregory has stepped down as Cal's defensive coordinator to take a job as defensive assistant with Boise State. For some Cal fans, this brings concern:
This is bad bad bad! royrules22
Others don't know what to make of this:
I have mix feelings on this one. A part of me won’t miss Gregory, but a part of me will miss him. 49er16
I am disappointed he’s leaving and I was hoping to see how he’d incorporate the new recruits into his defense.
At the same time, I am intrigued because this could be a potential upgrade (or potentially a disaster). It should be interesting to see who we hire as his replacement. Berkelium97
For others, this news brings the kind of joy that only a 93 yard TD run by Jahvid Best can normally bring:
SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 33SwisherSweet
Must......restrain......jubilation....must......feign...sadness Spazzy McGee
Coach Gregory's merit as a defensive coordinator has been debated ad nauseum on this and other Cal sports forums. I won't use this fanpost to rehash the sides of that debate (though I won't sue anyone for using the comments below for that purpose). I want to merely have fun with numbers! Below I have compiled stats and NCAA statistical rankings for Cal's defenses from 2002 through 2009 (i.e., the Bob Gregory years). What do we see? Are there trends? Were "bad" defenses that bad? Were our "good" defenses that good? Let's see what the numbers say.
The Cal football stats were compiled from the 2009 cumulative season statistics available on calbears.com and from the records section of the 2009 Cal Football Media Guide. The NCAA statistical rankings were obtained from cfbstats.com and from statistics archived on the NCAA's website. In a few cases, there were discrepancies between the various sources, but in no case were the discrepancies significant. (For example, cfbstats lists Cal as having yielded 3,459 yards passing in 2009 while the stats found on the Cal website show us giving up 3,469 yards.)
Year G Yards YPG YPC NCAA Rank (YPG)
2009 13 1456 112.0 3.3 23rd
2008 13 1589 122.2 3.2 26th
2007 13 2138 164.5 4.0 68th
2006 13 1630 125.4 3.8 47th
2005 12 1430 119.2 3.3 24th
2004 12 990 82.5 2.7 2nd
2003 14 1872 133.7 3.7 37th
2002 12 1368 114.0 3.0 19th
Year G Yards YPG Comp. % INT NCAA Rank (YPG)
2009 13 3469 266.8 63.7% 11 111th (out of 120)
2008 13 2509 193.0 51.6% 24 38th
2007 13 2787 214.4 60.6% 10 38th
2006 13 3131 240.8 56.3% 21 103rd (out of 119)
2005 12 2884 240.3 55.9% 15 82nd
2004 12 2861 238.4 51.9% 10 89th
2003 14 3516 251.1 55.9% 14 91st
2002 12 3346 278.8 58.2% 15 112th (out of 117)
Year Yards YPG NCAA
2009 4925 378.8 72nd
2008 4098 315.2 27th
2007 4925 378.8 58th
2006 4761 366.2 91st
2005 4314 359.5 46th
2004 3851 320.9 24th
2003 5388 384.9 68th
2002 4714 392.8 75th
Year PPG NCAA Rank
2009 25.5 60th
2008 19.9 23rd
2007 26.8 58th
2006 19.3 32nd
2005 21.2 26th
2004 16.0 8th
2003 24.4 54th
2002 26.5 61st
In bold for each category are the best seasons for both NCAA ranking in the category and best average per game (i.e., YPG or PPG, depending on stat). Sometimes, the best in each will be the same season (2004, FTW!)
EDIT HERE: ADDING PAC-10 TOTAL DEFENSE RANKINGS
As a nod to point raised by ttgiang15 in the comments, here are the Pac-10 rankings for total defense from 2002 to 2009. I've included the conference rankings for both Yards Per Game and Yards Per Play. Info compiled from cfbstats.com and NCAA archives (previously linked above). Noteworthy years (in a good way) are in bold.
Year Pac-10 Rank (YPG) Pac-10 Rank (YPP)
2009 7th 7th
2008 4th 2nd
2007 6th 5th
2006 8th 9th
2005 2nd 1st
2004 3rd 4th
2003 6th 6th
2002 9th 8th
1. Gregory's defenses at Cal were never really stellar at defending the pass, statistically speaking. Except for being 38th in the nation against the pass in 2007 (yeah, that surprised me, too) and 2008, we were no better than 82nd in passing yards allowed per game. And that includes abysmal rankings of 103rd, 111th, and 112th. Not good. I will admit, however, to being surprised that the 2004 defense was not better statistically. That couldn't have been all Sonny Cumbie, could it?
2. For the most part (except 2007), Gregory's defenses were good against the run, and the 2004 team was great against the run. I didn't really remember how great until I saw the numbers again.
3. When we gave up under 20 points per game, our win totals for those seasons were 10, 10, and 9.
4. Total defense and scoring defense were kind of ho hum, except that you could probably call the 2004 and 2008 teams very good in these categories. The only real "wow" stat in these categories was being 8th in the nation in scoring defense in 2004. Recall that was the year we posted two shutouts (Arizona and ASU), held vaunted USC to 23 points, and gave up 25 points combined to Oregon State, Washington, and Stanfurd.
We didn't need statistics to tell us that we never had the type of defense under Bob Gregory that was going to dominate and actually win games for us by shutting down the opponent. The only defense that came close to that kind of description was 2004. But are there any other conclusions can we draw from the numbers?